Snow Disrupts Travel across Europe, Shuts Down Airports

Winter decided to opt for a strong display of snow, cold weather and icy roads this year, even before the first winter day in the calendar. Severe conditions impaired travel across Europe, causing the shutdown of airports in cities such as London, Edinburgh, Geneva and many flight cancellation in numerous others. Romanian airline Tarom also announced yesterday it had canceled all their flights, national and international alike.

The Gatwick airport in London, U.K.’s second busiest, will remain closed until 6 a.m. local time tomorrow at the soonest, according to its website. Edinburgh airport announced an earliest opening time for at least 10 a.m tomorrow. At the same time, luckier airports in Dublin and Geneva have already reopened this morning.

This year’s marks the earliest widespread snowfall in Britain since 1993 and caused roads to freeze over, disrupting traffic. British Weather Services forecasts claim the freezing weather is likely to last until at least Dec. 8. Temperatures are expected to drop to a maximum low of minus-14 degrees Celsius (seven degrees Fahrenheit) in northwest Scotland this morning, with milder temperature in London and southeast England of about minus-3 degrees Celsius.

The bad weather also disrupted train traffic. Eurostar Group Ltd., which runs high-speed trains between London, Paris and Brussels, canceled seven of its 18 daily services between London and Paris for today and five of its 10 between Paris and Brussels, spokeswoman Lesley Retallack told Bloomberg. Southern Railways, which operates commuter services from southeast England into London, also stated it had cancelled all trains because of bad weather.

To add up to the large number of restrictions, speed restrictions are also in place both  in the U.K. and Northern France and are expected to create delays of up to 90 minutes, Eurostar said in an online statement.

According to airport spokesman Florian Steuer, yesterday’s snowfall in Munich forced the airport operator to clear two runways in turn, which led to at least 250 flights being canceled and another 40 experiencing delays of more than an hour. Frankfurt airport only shut down a runway leading to 60 flights being called off after spending the night stuck at other airports last night.

British Airways Plc cancelled its  flights to New York from London City Airport yesterday, but the airline experienced a normal day at its Heathrow hub.





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